Furniture stores have developed a reputation for marketing strategy-a sale for every holiday imaginable, no payments for 90 days, or no interest for 3 years are commonly-used promotional tools to drive sales. These certainly work, but they're not exactly unique. If you're new to the furniture market or you're looking for a way to stand out from the crowd, you'll want to choose something that doesn't involve Uncle Sam or Santa Claus. Here are some great options.
- Online classifieds-Websites like Craigslist and eBay have made the online classified ad sales process very easy. Customers turn to these places to check out merchandise before entering a store, so list your product here to reach them! Hire a part-time employee to photograph your merchandise and list it on these sites, or you can even subcontract the work to business specifically-designed for the task.
- In-store training-Hosting in-store training classes or seminars is a great way to reach out to the home-improvement market. Bring in interior decorators to discuss home staging, décor selection, or even remodeling tips using your merchandise. These types of classes add value to your store, and the customers see you as more than just a transaction-based business-you're part of their lifestyle. Promote these events by hanging a vinyl banner outside your store listing the dates and times for each class.
- Trade-in-Consider adding a customer trade-in program to your store, where the customer brings in their old furniture and receives a credit towards new merchandise. If the furniture's in good enough shape, you can create a used section in your store for great bargains. If it's not in resalable condition, you can donate the furniture or at the very least dispose of it for your customer. This is again a way to make your store a convenience provider and encourage customers to remain loyal to you. List this service in your store windows using vinyl decals.
- New homes-Create a partnership with a local real estate agent, broker, or homebuilder. Since homes always sell better with furniture in them, offer to stage their new homes with your merchandise in exchange for referrals. You can also add a sign in each home letting customers know where the furniture came from in-case they'd like to purchase it with the house or at least shop your store for a different selection. Some real estate agents might even want to purchase a piece of furniture directly from you as a house-warming gift for their new homeowners!
- Try before you buy-This bold strategy offers customers a chance to “test-drive” your furniture, so to speak. Selected customers are able to try furniture in their home for a preset amount of time to determine if they want to purchase it. Although this shouldn't be offered for all of your products as it could become a logistical nightmare, it can be an effective way to boost sales. After all, if it's up to the customer to take the furniture home and bring it back, odds are they're going to keep it. Make sure you have a vinyl decal at your cash register clearly explaining the rules of the program so there are no issues.